Places we visited: Lima, Cusco, Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Cusco, Puno, Lake Titicaca,
Length of stay: 21 days
High point: Landing the best homestay in Peru at Emma's house--complete with three
wonderful Peruvian meals a day, our 4 day trek along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu,
the beauty of the Andes mountain range,
Low Point: Our subpar Spanish teacher at San Blas language school, the realization
that this was our last country to visit before the end of our trip
Local food/flavor: The freshest ceviche we have ever tasted, lomo saltado (a very
popular dish in Peru, similar to stir fried beef with veggies), aji de gallina (a tasty
chicken dish) and finally...cuy (which we didn't try). Cuy is guinea pig. Now you know
why we didn't try it.
Language: Spanish and Quechua
Unique Sights: Did I mention cuy? Seeing a guinea pig served up on a plate, complete
with it's little teeth and tail intact was certainly unique, the traditional dress of the
women with felt bowler hats, pleated skirts and brightly colored woven blankets filled
with all kinds of goods tied to their back, men and women on the streets selling the
use of their personal cell phones for a few minutes, a folkloric dance performance in
Cusco's Plaza de Armas
Purchases: Blankets made of alpaca wool, a woven headband, wool hats and a silver
and lapiz pendant
Things we did:
- Felt like imposters as we treated ourselves to dinner in a posh restaurant in the
Miraflores district in Lima. How often do you reach the final country of a 27
country world tour?
- Declared Peru’s ceviche to be beyond delicious after a few samplings
- Visited the Franciscan Monasterio de San Francisco in Lima, which is famous for
its catacombs—containing over 70,000 bodies. Some of the bones are arranged
in interesting geometric designs. A little creepy, a little funny.
- Watched the ceremonial changing of the guard outside the Palacio de Gobierno
in Lima’s Plaza de Armas
- Admired the beautiful canary colored buildings lining Lima’s Plaza de Armas and
its surprisingly state of cleanliness
- Stopped for an empanada and Coca Cola lunch break in Lima’s Plaza San
Martin. Nothing like 35 cent empanadas.
- Negotiated a cross city cab ride to the Museo de la Nacion only to find it closed
for unexpected repairs.
- Wandered through the lively streets of Miraflores, stopping to admire a
sidewalk display of photography featuring stunning shots of nature from around
the world. We were delighted to see that we had been to many of these places
over the last year, and excited to see there are even more that we have to look
forward to seeing in the future.
- Flew from Lima to Cusco
- Met the Cusco family we would live with for two weeks. Instantly fell in love with
them-Emma, her two daughters and one grandson. Getting to know this family
was one of the highlights of our trip and certainly one of our favorite memories
- Explored the Inca sights within Cusco: Qorikancha ruins, Inca walls surrounding
Plaza de Armas, including the street of Hatunrumiyoc containing the famous 12-
- Explored the Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley: Saqsaywaman (pronounced very
similarly to ‘sexy woman’), Q’enqo, Ollantaytambo (very interesting Inca ruins,
as the fortification is very much intact and therefore paints a vivid picture of
what life and battle would have been like here)
- Shopped in the Sunday Pisac market, home to a little bit of everything. A great
combination of tourist goods (alpaca sweaters, silver, woven blankets) and local
goods (one of the busiest fruit and vegetable markets we have seen)
- Spent one more week in Spanish classes in Cusco in the neighborhood of San
Blas. The neighborhood is interesting (many artisanal shops, bakeries and
galleries with terrific views of Cusco's rooftops) but our classes were subpar.
Our teacher preferred to read "Memoirs of a Geisha" under the table than teach.
- Based on the recommendation of a native Peruvian who found our website we
scouted out a restaurant serving aji de gallina, a popular Peruvian dish made
with chicken and spicy chilis. It was good so we talked the cook out of her
recipe so we could attempt to duplicate this at home.
- Spent much time reflecting on the last 14 months and coming to terms with the
fact that our around the world trip would be coming to an end after our time in
this country. Experienced many conflicting emotions--happiness toward
reengaging with our family and friends and being connected to their everyday
lives again, and sadness to see this incredible journey come to an end.
- Embarked on the last major trek of our trip, a 4-day hike to Machu Picchu. Along
the way we explored several secluded Inca ruins and were treated to some
stunning Andean mountain scenery.
- If you are looking into a Machu Picchu trek we wholeheartedly recommend a
tour operator by the name of Llama Path. We were extremely happy with the
way they treated their porters and our guide, Alex, brought new meaning to the
idea of "enjoying your work". He brought our trip to a higher level with his
enthusiasm, care and attention to detail. Two thumbs way up to Llama Path!
- Made it to Machu Picchu and then spent a half day learning about this lost city
and another few hours hiking straight up an adjacent mountain named
Waynapicchu to get the aerial view of Machu Picchu. Beautiful views but the
path was overcrowded and a little bit dangerous.
- Returned to Emma's house for one last night before boarding the plane back to
the States. Were treated to a farewell bottle of wine by the family.
- Continued to wrestle with our tornado of emotions as we hailed our final taxi to
the airport. Man, does 14 1/2 months go by fast!
- Begin our journey back to friends and family in Texas by flying from Cusco to
Lima, Lima to Miami and then Miami to Dallas.